Autism Treatment News and Information

What is Autism? (Definition)

According to “Autism Speaks”, Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors. However, symptoms and severity vary widely. Some children with autism have only mild impairments, while others have more obstacles to overcome. Symptoms of autism are usually noticed first by parents and other caregivers sometime during the child’s first 3 years. Although autism is present at birth (congenital), signs of the disorder can be difficult to identify or diagnose during infancy.


Common Signs and Symptoms of Autism

Repetitive behaviors

Some common repetitive behaviors among people with autism include hand-flapping, rocking, jumping and twirling, arranging and rearranging objects, and repeating sounds, words, or phrases. Sometimes the repetitive behavior is self-stimulating, such as wiggling fingers in front of the eyes.

Trouble with social relationships and interactions

Children with autism often have problems developing nonverbal communication skills, such as eye-to-eye gazing, facial expressions, and body posture. They may also have problems establishing friendships with children, or understanding another person’s feelings, such as pain or sorrow.

Signs of speech and language difficulties

Signs may include speaking in an abnormal tone of voice (or with an odd rhythm or pitch), repeating the same words or phrases over and over, responding to a question by repeating it, rather than answering it.

Exhibits signs of inflexibility

Signs may include following a rigid routine, experiences difficulty adapting to any changes in schedule or environment, unusual attachments to toys or strange objects (keys, light switches, or rubber bands, etc.), preoccupation with numbers or symbols (e.g., memorizing and reciting random facts), or spending long periods of time watching moving objects such as a ceiling fan.

According to the National Autism Association, some specific signs of autism spectrum disorder might include the following:

  • Not respond to their name (the child may appear deaf)
  • Not point at objects or things of interest, or demonstrate interest
  • Not play “pretend” games
  • Avoid eye contact
  • Want to be alone
  • Have difficulty understanding, or showing understanding, or other people’s feelings or their own
  • Have no speech or delayed speech
  • Repeat words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
  • Give unrelated answers to questions
  • Get upset by minor changes
  • Have obsessive interests
  • Flap their hands, rock their body, or spin in circles
  • Have unusual reactions (over or under-sensitivity) to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel
  • Have low to no social skills
  • Avoid or resist physical contact
  • Demonstrate little safety or danger awareness
  • Reverse pronouns (e.g., says “you” instead of “I”)
  • Gives unrelated answers to questions

Experiencing one or more of the symptoms listed above does not necessarily mean that your child had autism. As with most diseases, many of these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions. However, if your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to get checked by your doctor or healthcare professional.

See below for updated news and information regarding Autism including new medical research, treatments and advancements. 

Latest Autism News

Kaiser Permanente Study Finds Children Exposed to Complications Before or During Birth at Higher Risk of Developing Autism Spectrum Disorder

(SOURCE: KAISER PERMANENTE) - Children who were exposed to complications shortly before or during birth, including birth asphyxia and preeclampsia, were more likely to develop autism spectrum disorder, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published today in the American Journal of Perinatology. For this retrospective study, researchers examined the electronic health records of 594,638 children born in Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Southern ...
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Autism Treatment News: ASU gut microbe study shows promise as a potential treatment for autism

(SOURCE: ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY) - The key to fighting autism might lie not in the mind, but in the gut. A team led by Arizona State University researchers is taking a novel approach in the search for effective autism treatments by focusing on improving the gut microbiome through fecal microbial transplants. Early results are promising, but additional testing is required before ...
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Autism Research News: Study finds alterations in both blood-brain barrier and intestinal permeability in individuals with autism

(SOURCE: MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL) - Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has the dubious distinction of being the fastest-growing developmental disability in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With 1 in every 68 children born in this country diagnosed with ASD, parents are looking everywhere for answers about best treatments. Along with selective medication to treat certain symptoms, ...
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Autism Research News: Increased Reaction to Stress Linked to Gastrointestinal Issues in Children with Autism

(SOURCE: UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-COLUMBIA) - One in 45 American children lives with autism spectrum disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of these children also have significant gastrointestinal issues, but the cause of these symptoms is unknown. Now, researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine suggest that the gastrointestinal issues in these individuals with autism may be ...
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Autism Research: Genetic cause identified for previously unrecognized developmental disorder

(SOURCE: BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE) - An international team of scientists has identified variants of the gene EBF3 causing a developmental disorder with features in common with autism. Identification of these gene variants leads to a better understanding of these complex conditions and opens the possibility of diagnosing other previously undiagnosed patients with similar clinical disorders. The study appears in the ...
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Autism News: As Children with Autism Age, Services to Help with Transition Needed

(SOURCE: UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-COLUMBIA) - According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 45 children is diagnosed with autism. As these children age, experiences such as leaving school, finding jobs and living alone can be stressful for adolescents with autism as well as their caregivers. Researchers from the University of Missouri have conducted the first ...
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Autism Research News: Mutations in Life’s “Essential Genes” Tied to Autism

(SOURCE: UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOL OF MEDICINE) - Genes known to be essential to life—the ones humans need to survive and thrive in the womb—also play a critical role in the development of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), suggests a new study from Penn Medicine geneticists published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.  An analysis of genetic ...
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Autism Research News: Study: Autism Brain Response Theory a Dead End

(SOURCE: UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER MEDICAL CENTER) - A new study published in the journal Cerebral Cortex challenges the hypothesis that nerve cells in the brains of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders do not reliably and consistently respond to external stimuli. “Our findings show there is no measurable variation in how individuals with Autism respond to repeated visual and tactile stimuli,” said ...
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Autism Research: Study to investigate connection between antibiotic use and autism symptoms

(SOURCE: Baylor College of Medicine) - Baylor College of Medicine is launching a study that will investigate why some children with autism spectrum disorder experience changes in their autism symptoms when taking antibiotics. The study will follow children over a two-year period, with the intent to capture information anytime antibiotics are prescribed during that time by their regular healthcare providers. Researchers will ...
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Autism Research News: New form of autism found

(Source: The Institute of Science and Technology - IST Austria) - An international team of researchers led by scientists at IST Austria identified a new form of syndromic autism • Study published in Cell Autism spectrum disorders affect around one percent of the world’s population and are characterized by a range of difficulties in social interaction and communication. In a ...
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